|Khalif Wyatt scored 33 points as Temple upset No. 3 Syracuse, 83-79. (US Presswire)|
On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we're not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that's happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first six-or-so hours' worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinnertime.
The best we've seen so far: Temple hands No. 3 Syracuse its first loss behind 33 points from Khalif Wyatt.
In the first half, Syracuse jumped out to a double-digit lead and Temple was relying too much on off-balance shots from Wyatt. It looked like the Orange would cruise to a win. Then Fran Dunphy figured out the Syracuse 2-3 zone -- Temple consistently got the ball to the free-throw line and then found openings from there. On the other end, Syracuse had no answer for Wyatt, allowing him to get into the lane at will. We've already written a couple of things about this game, with me saying that Syracuse needs leadership and interior toughness, and Doug Gottleib questioning whether Jim Boeheim is an elite coach.
All season long, Ohio State has looked for a consistent secondary scoring threat to complement Deshaun Thomas. Kansas made sure no one emerged on Saturday. The Jayhawks held Ohio State to sub-30 percent shooting from the field, and completely suffocated the Buckeyes in a half-court setting. The only time Ohio State was able to get points was off 18 Kansas turnovers, but the Jayhawks pulled away in the second half for a 74-66 win. Ben McLemore is emerging as a legitimate top-five NBA draft choice, as he went for 22 points and six rebounds. Jeff Withey also had a double-double. Thomas and Shannon Scott were the only Ohio State players in double-figures.
Because of the storm in the Midwest, South Dakota State had to take a bus from Nashville to Albuquerque for Saturday's game. I guess all that rest helped the Jackrabbits, as they went into The Pit and handed New Mexico its first loss of the season. New Mexico struggled from the field, and South Dakota State star guard Nate Wolters went for 28 points, five rebounds and seven assists. More importantly, Wolters was calm down the stretch, making plays and knocking down free throws in the 70-65 win. With New Mexico and Syracuse losing, only six unbeaten teams remain.
Maybe a free appetizer: Fairfield knocks off Saint Joseph's on the road. The MAAC will be fun.
Heading into the season, it looked like Loyola (Md.) and Manhattan would be the class of the MAAC. But what about Fairfield? The Stags have been up and down, but they went into Philadelphia and beat Saint Joseph's on Saturday. Now, the Hawks haven't been as good as expected this season, but it's still a solid win. Derek Needham showed why he's had such a successful career, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 16 seconds left and finishing with 24 points.
We couldn't decide which loss was worst, so we're just throwing both into this category (we get to Texas A&M's loss to Southern later on). Mercer had a win over Florida State earlier this season, but it also has losses to Wake Forest and Georgia. What makes the loss even worse for Alabama is that the Crimson Tide were up by 12 with 3:30 left in the first half. Mercer went on an 8-0 run in the final 90 seconds to get the 66-59 win. Alabama has now lost four of five.
Xavier also blew a lead in its loss, with Wofford erasing a 14-point first-half deficit to get the win. Brad Redford tied it up for Xavier with eight seconds left -- but the Musketeers proceeded to foul Lee Skinner, who hit the game-winning free throw. Semaj Christon was held below his normal offensive output, scoring just eight points on nine shots. That's three losses in four games for the Musketeers.
- C.J. Leslie has has much potential as anyone in the country, but he doesn't show it consistently. He certainly brought it against Saint Bonaventure on Saturday, going for 33 points and eight rebounds.
- Florida State badly needed a win against Charlotte on Saturday, and Michael Snaer made sure it happened. Snaer went for 30 points in the close win.
- Maine's Justin Edwards had 27 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals. He's an underrated sophomore guard.
- Mississippi State could use more outings like Gavin Ware had on Saturday: 22 points, 13 rebounds on 8-for-9 shooting.
- Chaz Williams led Massachusetts over East Carolina with 26 points and 11 assists. Even though the Minutemen have been up and down, Williams is still fun to watch.
Other daytime action worth your attention
- The point guard showdown between Murray State's Isaiah Canaan and Dayton's Kevin Dillard didn't disappoint. Canaan went for 20 points and five assists, while Dillard had 18 points and 10 assists. Dayton pulled away down the stretch for a 77-68 win.
- With Myck Kabongo returning in February, Texas might have some NCAA tournament optimism. The Longhorns looked solid against Michigan State on Saturday, but the Spartans' inside duo of Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne combined for 38 points and 17 rebounds in a win.
- It wasn't the prettiest win, but Otto Porter's 16 points and 13 boards helped lead Georgetown to a 17-point win over American.
- North Carolina bounced back from its loss to Texas with an easy win over McNeese State. P.J. Hairston led the way with 20 points.
- No letdown for Butler one week after beating Indiana. The Bulldogs held Colt Ryan to 8-for-22 shooting and held off Evansville down the stretch, 75-67.
- Cincinnati overcame a six-point halftime deficit to hold off Wright State at home. JaQuon Parker is the least-heralded of the Bearcat guards, but he went for 21 points.
- Ryan Harrow is starting to become exactly what Kentucky needs. Against Marshall, Harrow had 23 points and four assists in an easy 82-54 win.
- Ole Miss and Indiana State had an entertaining overtime battle on Saturday, with Indiana State pulling out the win, 87-85. Former Gonzaga transfer Manny Arop had 27 and seven for the Sycamores, while Marshall Henderson dropped 27 for Ole Miss.
Delightful (and not-so-delightful) thoughts
-- Marcus Smart's shooting continues to trend in the wrong direction, but Oklahoma State cruised past Tennessee Tech. And Markel Brown did this (via @pistolsguy):
-- Can Iowa be a sleeper in the Big Ten? Most people had the Hawkeyes pegged as a potential threat in the middle of the pack, and now they are 11-2 after beating Coppin State. Aaron White led the way on Saturday with 20 points.
-- Todd Mayo only had two points in his debut for Marquette, but the Golden Eagles snapped out of their offensive funk – despite hitting just 6-for-22 from 3. They beat LSU, 84-80, in a game that saw both teams shoot a combined 36-for-38 from the free-throw stripe.
-- Arizona State is now 10-2 and DePaul is now 9-3. I don't know what that means for conference play, but gaudy records nonetheless.
-- Remember all the optimism surrounding Providence after the return of Kris Dunn earlier in the week? The Friars lost to Boston College on Saturday. They need Vincent Council back too.
-- Arsalan Kazemi had rolled off three double-doubles in his last four games, but he had just four points and six boards against Houston Baptist. Not that Oregon needed him. The Ducks still won by 41.
-- Loyola (Ill.) went 7-23 last season. After its win over St. Peter's on Saturday, the Ramblers are already 8-3. Good for Porter Moser.
-- The CAA is down, but George Mason improved to 7-4 with a 67-64 road win at Richmond. The Patriots are getting consistent production from Sherrod Wright, and they have plenty of depth and balance.
-- What's going on with USC? The Trojans were expected to make something of a move in the Pac-12 this season, as multiple transfers and injured players were set to make an impact. However, they have now lost seven of their last eight games -- including a road loss on Saturday to Georgia.
-- I know Texas A&M isn't very good this season, but Southern has two Division-I wins -- over South Dakota and Louisiana-Monroe. On Saturday, the Jaguars shot just 37.7 percent from the field -- and still beat the Aggies. Ray Turner was held to five points before fouling out.
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